EARLY BIRDS
AGENZIA DI COMUNICAZIONE

Influencers: Parasocial Relationships

Who are influencers? The name already suggests much about their profession. Indeed, influencers are individuals who have a certain influence over their followers. In recent years, the phenomenon has exploded, and thanks to social media, it has become a true profession.

Who are influencers? The name already suggests much about their profession. Indeed, influencers are individuals who have a certain influence over their followers. In recent years, the phenomenon has exploded, and thanks to social media, it has become a true profession.

Being an influencer means many things: you can publish posts, images, videos, or even articles. In short, all the tools that the web has to offer are exploited. What kind of content is shared? In reality, there are many areas that can be addressed: for example, food, fashion, makeup, but also video games, travel…

But let’s get to the fundamental question: how does an influencer earn money? The question often arises, and it’s easy to understand why. Social platforms are democratic, free: we don’t pay anything to view the content posted on Instagram. So, it’s natural to wonder how influencers make money (often a lot of money).

Influencers earn through brands. Companies leverage the persuasive power of influencers to spread a message or market a product. How much do they earn? It depends, of course, on the size of their following. Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the highest-earning influencer, making around 600,000 euros per post.

What are parasocial relationships?

Parasocial relationships are those we establish in our minds with a public figure. This doesn’t happen with every celebrity but only with those we closely follow. However, it’s a relationship that is only apparent. Imagine meeting your favorite singer: how do you approach them? Probably by calling them by name and talking to them as if they were your closest friend. In reality, they are not: your relationship exists only within your mind. Your favorite singer knows absolutely nothing about you. Instead, you have known them forever: you’ve seen them grow, you know all their songs, their past relationships, and their favorite color.

The singer is just one example: we can establish this false relationship with any celebrity! For example, with a TV host, an actor, or an influencer.

Relationship between follower and influencer

This type of relationship can often be established between a follower and an influencer. The effect is very strong precisely because we enter their daily life. Through social media, we can read their thoughts, know what they think and what they do at every moment. In particular, an influencer’s Instagram stories make us live day by day with them. Their life becomes closely linked to ours. What are the effects of this relationship?

On the one hand, we perceive the content that is published as tailored to us. This gives us a strong sense of belonging. In some way, we identify with the influencer, establishing a close bond of empathy. This is why we perceive their successes positively, as if they were our own achievements.

Naturally, the opposite can also happen. Sometimes, we develop strong hatred towards a person we don’t know, perhaps because we don’t identify with their actions or their attitude. Since we follow that influencer, we feel we can judge what they do. Attention must be paid to this aspect, keeping in mind the nature of our relationship with them. Can we really know all their motivations? Or are we so involved in their life that we are in a position to judge them?